Stephen Brown to Mrs. Stockton
19th june 1991eh
Dear Miss Stockton,
Thank you for your letter inquiring about the ONA which has been passed on to me to reply to.
Essentially, the ONA is a Satanic organization which seeks to guide its members toward Adeptship and what is beyond Adeptship. This is an individual quest, which involves the Initiate striving to achieve the goal by their own self-effort. Initially, on joining the Order, the new member has one Order contact. This contact offers advice and guidance, and makes available Order Initiation. Thereafter, they work at their own pace, following the techniques and so on as explicated, for example, in the MSS ‘Naos’. This takes some months, during which time they meet their contact to discuss matters and during which the contact may give advice if such advice is sought.
Following this initial period of basically hermetic and solomagickal workings and tasks, the Initiate usually goes on to the next stage – the formation of a Satanic Temple to undertake ceremonial workings and gain experience in people-manipulation and other Satanic skills. The Initiate is expected to recruit members for this Temple – which is solely under the Initiate’s control. Thus, the Initiate learns by experience – no constraints of any kind are placed on the novice who runs the Temple. Generally, the novice in running the Temple, follows the guidelines and rituals as given in the Black Book of Satan – i.e. they use the magickal energies of traditional Satanism and so enhance the sinister, rather than the energies associated with other ‘traditions’ which tend to undermine the sinister.
The novice then, after some further time, moves on to the other tasks which await along the sinister path – i.e. undertakes further workings, magickal ordeals, and gains further experience. Generally, their Order contact remains the same, although occasionally it may be changed. The novice is free to continue with and expand their Satanic Temple, and may if they wish, turn it into a teaching Temple – i.e. the novice teaches and trains those who may be suitable to follow the path of traditional Satanism, as they themselves have done. Or they may keep the Temple as an instrument for their personal edification – or they may disband it; it is entirely their choice.
All this takes from a year to a few years. There are then other tasks, other knowledge to be gained, other experiences to be learnt from. Thus, there is a commitment by the Initiate to follow the path of Satanism. The path is not easy, and requires effort. Adeptship is achieved, by each individual who gets that far – it is never a gift. Furthermore, the individual is for the most part alone – they rely on themselves, they have to rely on themselves, make their own mistakes, and learn from them. Their contact only guides, only offers advice. There is no contact with other Order members, at whatever stage of development – no secret gatherings, no Order rituals which members attend, no group discussions. Thus, there is self-effort, and self-achievement. There is only the unique journey you undertake and whhich you learn from in your own time according to your commitment.
This is so, because Satanism is a commitment – by each individual. One aim is to find your unique Destiny, and fulfill that. No one can do this for you.
You write that you are at present studying at University. Well, you attend lectures, may read, may discuss matters with others – but in the Finals, the effort is yours alone, and you may on your own efforts pass. Of course, someone could sit the Finals for you – but then the achievement, the Degree, would not be yours. It is the same with magick – what really matters is the amount of effort you put in. The achievement of genuine Adeptship requires you to learn: no one can do this on your behalf.
This lack of meeting with other members also has a very practical point above and beyond the fact that it encourages a uniqueness and the development of strong character [both traits a Satanist has or aspires to] – i.e. it ensures the security of those other members. They remain secret, and so continue with their work. Unless, that is, they decide for themselves to the contrary.But the number who do this are very few, for obvious practical reasons, most connected with the dark nature of Satanism and its still heretical nature insofar as the majority of non-Occultists are concerned (and, indeed, as far as the majority of Occultists are concerned!).
It is the fact of the nature of most individuals that gathering in groups is necessary: few possess the strength of character to be and act alone. Most require the comfort of others around – of knowing they are not alone, that help is near, that problems can be discussed, and so on. This is true magick as in life – in fact, more so, particularly in the Left Hand Path. People like to compare experiences, like to be re-assured, like to feel part of a larger grouping. But this is actually detrimental to the development of the qualities a Satanist must possess or develop. An Adept of the Left Hand Path must be self-sufficient, must be strong – must be an individual who has developed a unique ‘view of life’, a unique ‘philosophy of living’ from their own experience. A being-with-others implies a social or ‘peer’ pressure, a conformity, and an expectation – an ‘image’ to strive toward and conform to, a ‘role’ to fulfill. A genuine uniqueness of character can only be forged through a certain isolation – through struggling alone, through finding solutions to ones own problems by ones own efforts. The path of Satanism (or rather the following of the path by an individual) poses problems for each individual – it is the nature of the path itself for this to happen. It tests, it presents the individual with ordeals (and rewards of course – but we are considering the formative experiences which breed Satanic character). There is and must be a ‘self-overcoming’ – a development of the individual. Thus is the Adept born.
Of course this is very difficult, and there are easier options. These, however, do not lead to real Adeptship, but to the illusion of attainment. The Satanic path sorts out the strong from the failures. Only the strong, the gifted, survive and prosper. And that is as it should be, for Satanism is elitist.
Thus, we maintain the isolation of the novice from other novices. If they want contacts – they find their own, via the Temple they form, as explained earlier. But here, they are the ‘role-model’ for others – an obvious inversion which has benefits insofar as developing Satanic character is concerned. Since their Order contact only guides them, each novice ha sno image to aspire to – they must find their own. Often, they try many ‘images’, then discard them, and so gain experience, the hard way.
I have gone into this matter at some length, since the person with whom you have been in contact, has intimated that you thought the Order was akin to some others who held the ‘social’ type gatherings and rituals for members. In fact, most individuals who inquire about the order have this misconception – and most are disappointed when they discover or are told of the reality! To be honest, the majority dislike the notion that they are expected to work at their own development via their own efforts without the support and comfort of other members being around. Thus, do they show themselves unfit for the order – not possessed of the ‘right stuff’!
You ask who has authority in the Order and what this authority represents. Basically, the only ‘authority’ is that which arises or develops because of experience. For example, the Order contact you may may have should you decide to begin the Satanic quest, offers advice, or decline it. Your contact teaches what they have learnt from practical experiences – they offer no ‘theory’, they demand no obedience, no subservience. As for myself, I “represent” the Order, in a sense, simply because I have more experience. Perhaps I have learnt more. I certainly consider I have achieved something – perhaps some little Wisdom. But I am not infallible – I have no ‘authority’ in the real sense – I simply offer advice and guidance based on my own experience. I am still learning. What I teach is not ‘sacred’ – hopefully, it will be surpassed, refined, changed, when others discover and experience and attain. I inherited some esoteric knowledge, and have added to it – and that really is what esoteric knowledge is: a slowly accumulating body of knowledge which represents both what Is and what is Not. Gradually, this representation is refined – gets closer to being a genuine representation.
Thus, when I speak or write I speak or write from my own experience – I do not claim some supra-personal authority, to be in contact with some entity (like Satan) who has chosen me, or empowered me or whatever. I am a unique individual, and what I say or write should be judged by its merits – by whether it works, is effective, is a genuine representation of what it is supposed to be. My creations do not pretend to be other than what they are – my creations. They are not the ‘sacred works of the Devil’ or whatever. I may sometimes have been inspired by the prince of Darkness, but the works are mine – and should be judged as mortal rather than the product of some entity. I leave it to others to claim that their works are imbued with a sacred quality (or Infernal power) and so they deserve ‘obedience’ and all that religious stuff!
The same applies to the traditions I inherited. They are simply traditions, and like most traditions are a mixture. Some contain a little Wisdom; there are bits of insight; bits of real esoteric knowledge. And an awful lot of mystification as well as some fables. Each individual must assess them for themselves – if they are useful, fine. If not – fine. [If you are interested, the traditions are: some of the rituals in ‘The Black Book of Satan’, certain techniques of magick (e.g. Esoteric Chant; Insight Roles) and certain esoteric ‘knowledge’ connected with the Dark Godsmythos and the Septenary system – the sigils, some chants, words, and the septenary correspondences.]
To end, I must repeat that our Way is not easy. It requires many years of effort – you will receive little help, and a lot will be expected of you. It will be your effort – not mine, not that of your contact or a friend or anyone else. You will be faced with ordeals, with tests of character. There are rewards, of course – including the obvious ones of carnality and wealth, if that is what you desire. But there is an awful lot of other things awaiting…I make no promises – if you succeed, you will succeed. You might fail. It is you who will decide.
No one will or can you award Adeptship – or any other magickal Grade. You will have to achieve them. It usually takes five or more years to reach the stage of Adeptship – few get that far. Most who begin, give up, because the quest is just too hard or they are too soft. It will probably take fifteen or twenty years to reach the stage of Mistress of Earth, the fifth stage of the seven that mark the path. Are you prepared for this?
Should you be interested in taking the matter further, I can arrange for you to meet the person to whom you gave the letter. She will be able to answer any questions you might have regarding the next step, should you decide to undertake it.
Incidentally, there are no fees, no dues of any kind connected with membership of the Order. And all Order MSS are available to members, at cost – none are ‘secret’ or withheld until you reach a certain stage. Once Initiation is complete, and the first tasks are achieved by you, all Order MSS are accessible.
With best wishes,
Stephen Brown [signed]